Athletes, Fans, Coaches and Partners Encouraged To Share Progress on Social Media

Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019

ALBANY, NY — Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman today announced #Fit5NY, a five-week program that encourages athletes, fans, coaches and partners of the statewide organization to use Fit 5, a fitness resource created by Special Olympics that promotes a healthy lifestyle through consistent physical activity, nutrition, and hydration.

Fit 5 aims to improve athlete heath through a routine of exercising five times per week, eating fruits and vegetables five times per day, and drinking five bottles of water per day.

“The Special Olympics New York family is dispersed across the state, so we can’t always be on the sidelines during competitions or cheer one another on at practice, but social media gives our statewide community the opportunity to be there for each other while we work toward a common goal,” said Hengsterman. “Fit 5 is an important resource for our athletes, whose disabilities often put them at higher risk of obesity and preventable diseases associated with inactivity. I’m looking forward to seeing us come together to address this, and to seeing everyone’s progress in photos, shares, and words of encouragement online with #Fit5NY.”

People with intellectual disabilities, including the nearly 68,000 Special Olympics athletes across New York, are part of one of the most underserved populations in the world, in terms of quality healthcare. Their genetic makeup, coupled with the lack of inclusion and understanding they face, leads them to experience dramatically higher rates of obesity and preventable disease, chronic pain and suffering, and premature death.

“I am thrilled to see Special Olympics New York take an innovative approach with Fit 5 and lead the way toward inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Kyle Washburn, Special Olympics Director of Fitness. “By creating exciting opportunities around fitness and physical activity, we can reach our goal of improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities and inequity for 11 million people with intellectual disabilities by 2020.”

The #Fit5NY challenge supports a growing inclusive health agenda within Special Olympics that aims to improve athlete health and address the disparities in healthcare that people with intellectual disabilities often face. Learn more about New York’s agenda in Hengsterman’s recent column, Changing the Game: Healthcare Equity for People with Intellectual Disabilities.


About Special Olympics New York

Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving nearly 68,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with nearly 150 schools statewide to offer unified sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers.  Learn more at www.specialolympicsNY.org and #SpecialOlympicsNY.


Robyn Armando, Vice President Marketing & Communications, (518) 588-3459, rarmando@nyso.org